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14. Who and where is God ?
God is not a person. To affirm that he descends to earth every now and again in the form of a human being is a partial truth which merely signifies that such a person lives near to God. Inasmuch as God is omnipresent, He dwells within every human being and all may, therefore, be said to be incarnations of Him. But this leads us nowhere. Rama. Krishna, etc. are called incarnations of God because we attribute divine qualities to them. In truth they are creations of man's imagination. Whether they actually lived or not does not affect the picture of them in men's minds. The Rama and Krishna of history often present difficulties which have to be overcome by all manner of arguments.
The truth is that God is the force. He is the essence of life. He is pure and undefiled consciousness. He is eternal. And yet. strangely enough, all are not able to derive either benefit from or shelter in the all- pervading living presence.
Electricity is a powerful force. Not all can benefit from it. It can only be produced by following certain laws. It is a lifeless force. Man can utilize it if he labours hard enough to acquire the knowledge of its laws.
The living force which we call God can similarly be found if we know and follow His law leading to the discovery of Him in us. But it is self-evident that to find out God's law requires far harder labour. The law may, in one word, be termed brahmacharya. The straight way to cultivate brahmacharya is Ramanama. I can say this from experience. Devotees and sages like Tulsidas have shown us this royal path. No one need give undue importance to my own experience. Perhaps 1 am right in saying that the potency of Ramanama was brought vividly home to me in Uruli Kanchan. It was there that I asserted that the surest remedy for all our ills was Ramanama. He who can make full use of it can show powerful results with very little outside effort.
Following this line of thought I can say with conviction that the orthodox aids to brahmacharya pale into insignificance before Ramanama, when this name is enthroned in the heart. Then and then only do we realize its transcendent beauty and power.
Harijan, 22-6-1947